Butler University Chapter of the John Weidner Foundation for
On April 30, 2006, the Butler Student Sociology Association
(SSA) established a University Chapter of the John Weidner
Foundation for Altruism. John Weidner was a Dutchman living in
France when the Germans invaded in 1940. Over the next five years,
with the help of up to 300 like-minded compatriots, he helped
approximately a thousand people escape the Germans into
safety in Switzerland and Spain. The escapees included American and
British downed airmen, Jewish refugees, and Dutch, Belgian, Polish
and French citizens fleeing the Germans. John was honored at the
end of the war by the Governments of Holland, the United States,
Britain, Israel and France. He was also honored at the opening of
the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., in 1993.
John died in 1994 in California where he had lived for many
years. His widow, Naomi, created a foundation to honor John's
altruistic work. William Ervin, a former Sociology adjunct
professor and board member of the Weidner Foundation, helped create
a Butler Chapter because of the clear connection between the
programs represented in the Department of Sociology &
Criminology that stress community service, promote human welfare
and social good.
In addition to the Foundation Scholarship, the Indianapolis
Downtown Rotary Club also provides financial support for a second
scholarship award for altruism which is given annually.
The SSA annually gives the scholarship awards to
two deserving Butler students. SSA presents these awards and honors
the recipients at the Department of Sociology and Criminology
annual banquet during the spring semester.
John Weidner 2013 Scholarship & Award for Altruism
John Weidner was a Dutch citizen and Seventh Day Adventist who,
during World War II, saved the lives of about 1,000 British and
American downed airmen, Jews, Dutch, Belgians, and French fleeing
Nazi persecution. He was honored by five governments after the war
and by the Holocaust Museum at its opening in 1993. John died
in Los Angeles in 1994, and his widow, Naomi, started a foundation
for honoring the altruistic spirit: "unselfish concern for the
welfare of others."
The Butler Student Sociology Association formed the Butler
University Chapter of the John Weidner Foundation for Altruism in
2005 - 2006 under the guidance of former Sociology Adjunct
Professor, William Ervin. The Student Sociology
Association presents two annual scholarships in the spring,
honoring TWO Butler students for acts of altruism.
John Weidner Award
for Altruism Application (PDF)
2012 Weidner award winners: Dan Peterson & Troy Gulden with
Weidner representative Bill Ervin